Summer is coming! That means I can either cry about it, or get ready to make the most of it. So... I decided to make the most of it. Besides, how boring is crying about it? Summer always brings an irrational need to go camping. Something about childhood memories of trout fishing and fried potatoes; of picking wild raspberries and piling in the tent together to tell ghost stories by flashlight. For some reason, the thought of me camping makes my husband laugh uncontrollably... I don't know why. I just remind him of our early years as newly weds with no money, of borrowing his uncle's camper and heading into the Graham Mountains for our first vacations.
Why is it I don't camp more often? Oh, yeah... the shower thing.
This year, I'm going camping... no matter what! I even made a list of things to get ready for the big event. My first preparation was to buy a Dutch oven— no, not one of those fancy French things with pretty Caribbean colors that is so beautiful you don't want to get it dirty— a real, authentic, no nonsense, American workhorse Dutch oven with actual "feet" ( the American part) that can turn a campfire into the French Laundry... well, maybe not.
So, how do you like my new toy? Isn't she beautiful? Can you believe I cooked this Bananas Foster Cake in my Dutch oven? Well, I did! Notice how beautifully it turned out of the oven... how "caramelie" the brown sugar and bananas got. It was a hit with my family even if I do say so myself .
I do have to come clean, tho'. The recipe is not mine. It came from Gary Wilkens, three time Arizona Dutch Oven Cooking Champion and Co founder of the Arizona Chapter of International Dutch Oven Society, in other words, Dutch oven chef extraordinaire. I was lucky enough to spend time with him while he was cooking for a group of about thirty Boy Scout leaders at a Camporee just outside Phoenix. Yes, in the desert outside Phoenix, in the heat, with the snakes... real snakes... rattle snakes. What I do for the sake of this blog!
Gary knew I needed an easy recipe to brush up on my Dutch oven skillz (yes, I have skillz, what kind of Southwestgirl would I be if I didn't have Dutch oven skillz?) so, he gave me this Bananas Foster Cake recipe to try out on my unsuspecting family. He also gave me all kinds of tips on how to get champion results with your outdoor Dutch oven.
Directions for Easy Banana Cake Baked in a Dutch Oven
Bananas turn brown quickly so the first thing I did was mix up the cake mix. I added the eggs called for in the recipe, but if you are entering a Chuck Wagon competition, you must leave them out.
Next, I melted the butter and the brown sugar together in the bottom of the Dutch oven and sprinkled in the cinnamon.
I sliced the bananas on a bias...
and tossed them into the yummy butter and sugar. I stirred mine around until coated with the butter mixture... not too long tho', I didn't want the bananas to be too soft after the cake was baked. About two to three minutes.
Next, I poured the cake batter over the bananas and...
folded the carmel and bananas into the cake. Don't worry, the bananas settle back to the bottom and leave a little of the brown sugar flavor in the caked mix.
I put the lid on the Dutch oven and place over the coals, arranged the coals on top and let 'er bake. About 35 to 40 minutes. When it was finished, I ifted the Dutch oven off the coals and carefully removed the lid with out getting the ashes in the banana cake.
I let the cake rest a few minutes then turned it out onto the Dutch oven lid (I was being authentic, but you can use a serving dish if you want.)
Easy Dutch Oven Banana Cake Recipe
1 prepared yellow cake mix
1 lb. brown sugar
½ 1b. margarine
5 lb. bananas
3 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon cinnamon (optional)
¼ cup rum (optional)
Heat a 12-inch Dutch oven and cover with coals for 15 minutes. Slice bananas crosswise and set aside.
Prepare cake mix according to package directions and set aside. Remove preheated oven from coals and melt margarine in bottom. Add brown sugar and mix well. Add bananas and sauté for three minutes over fire. Remove from the fire and add rum, if desired. Stir until the rum is heated and flambe. Pour cake mix over bananas. Fold banana/sugar mixture up over cake mix a few times. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar. Bake 35 to 50 minutes at 350°. For the first 10 minutes use coals on the bottom only, then add coals to the top and continue baking until done.
To make sure the heat is 350 degrees, Gary recommends using the “3 up and 3 down rule” to maintain a 350° baking temperature. That means, for example, if you have a 12-inch Dutch oven, you place 12 charcoal briquettes plus three more on top of the oven and 12 briquettes minus three under the oven to achieve 350°. To increase the temperature, you add one briquette to the top and one to the bottom for every additional 25 degrees. This enables you to control the temperature.
-posted by Sandy